Mitsubishi Electric Launches UK’s First R32 Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Solution

The growing focus on the environmental effect of refrigerants has fuelled demand for sustainable air conditioning solutions. The solutions are aimed to address environmental concerns over refrigerants’ potential to warm the planet or/and deplete the ozone layer. Government regulation has also affected the choice of gas used in air conditioning applications. The Montreal Protocol, for instance, is phasing out the use of gases with ozone depleting potential. The EU f-gas regulation, which was implemented in 2006, is another regulation aimed to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons(HFCs) with a high global warming potential.

The HVAC&R industry has made great progress in making technical adaptations to address these environmental concerns. Today, many heating and cooling systems use HFCs such as R134a and R410A which release very low quantities of greenhouse gases.

Mitsubishi Electronic is one of the many companies across the world looking to identify and implement low-GWP alternative refrigerants. In May 2018, the company launched UK’s first R32 solution for large-scale air conditioning in its new range of City Multi-Hybrid VRF products.

While numerous companies have installed R32 in room and packaged air conditioners, no company had yet introduced a UK model for use in large VRF systems – until now. The Hybrid VRF can be installed in almost any building including hotels and restaurants, showrooms, schools, hospitals, care homes and offices among other commercial buildings.

This R32 version of the Hybrid solution features a two-pipe heating and cooling system. It has a Hybrid Branch Controller box that houses a liquid/gas separator. This separator allows the outdoor unit to deliver a mixture of liquid for cooling and hot gas for heating, all through the same pipe. When the mixture arrives at the Controller box, it is separated and the correct fluid is delivered to each indoor unit depending on the AC settings. Additionally, the system eliminates the need to install a leak detection system.

What is R32?

R32, also known as difluoromethane, is a single component HFC refrigerant. It has a low global warming potential (GWP) of 675, zero ozone depletion potential and is slightly flammable. This refrigerant is suitable for use in applications that have historically used R410A or R22.

Benefits of Using R32 VRF in Air Conditioning Systems

While there are a variety of low GWP refrigerants on the market, most air conditioning manufacturers prefer to use R32 in their products as it offers the following benefits:

  • It is non-toxic making it ideal for use in many applications
  • Is more energy efficient than R410A
  • Has 25% smaller charge sizes further lowering CO₂e footprint
  • Requires less refrigerant volume per Kw
  • Is F-gas compliant
  • Offers impressive performance
  • Being a single component refrigerant, it is easy to handle and recycle